I made a trip down to our Cochise yard on Tuesday and ended up spending the night down there. Got all my work done, so that meant I could get a hike in Wednesday! As many times as I have been down this way over the years, I had still only hiked the Cochise Stronghold in the Dragoons, glad I could change that. I headed south to Middlemarch road in the trusty Nissan Quest hoping that the road would not prove too funky. As it turns out, the east side is a bit rough but very passable in a passenger vehicle (when dry), and the western portion is possibly one of the best dirt roads I have ever been on. I made my way up to Soren Camp road and parked shortly after the road junction. I started hiking up the road to the 'Trailhead' for Cochise. Nice temps in the morning, spring is finally starting to come to this part of the state. I followed the jeep road up to where the barbed wire fence is, I followed the fence up and eventually passed through a gate. Best bet is to stay just to the left of the barbed wire the whole way up, don't bother going through the gate. I got a little off track on the way up, but staying by the fence o the way back made for easier going. Nice little peak, a few scramble spots but all in all a decent bit of off trail. Took a nice break at the top enjoying some of the views, but the best was still to come. The summit jar was disintegrating, if anyone is coming up here anytime soon you should bring a new one! There are some nice campsites you pass on the way up Soren Camp road, I would imagine even some better ones once you get up the road further. I bumped my way down Middlemarch Pass over to forest road 4393 and parked in some shad to begin my next hike. The road up to Black Diamond is good and steep, and the temps were getting warmer with noon approaching. The track starts out nice and easy to follow, but then becomes a game trail that fades in and out. Nothing too hard to find, but it does traverse a pretty good slope, so watch your step. I was glad I brought my hiking stick along for this one, but I still ended up on my backside a few times thanks to the varied terrain, some loose rocks here and there, plus lots of vegetation to work your way around. Few things say fun like picking your way through the Catclaw and Manzanita, I left some donations along the way, and still have a few spines to dig out of my skin...The route up to the summit is not too difficult, there are a few false summits to negotiate around, but for the most part easy to find. I did not find a summit log up top, maybe I missed it. Took a quick break to enjoy the sweeping views of Southern Arizona and Mexico. So many mountains left to climb...I took a quick side trip tot he mine on the way back, but I just poked my head in the entrance. Looks like you could go quite a ways into this one if that is your thing, but I was solo and running short on time too. Chugged my way back down the forest road, and then continued westward down to Tombstone. Waved hello to a few BP agents blocking the road a few miles down and they let me pass by without any hassle. Took the 80 back through St. David and benson, and then back home by the I-10. Long day, but good to get these both in.
A few things in bloom, but it is just getting started down here.